Russia Says Ready to Resume Peace Talks, but Ukraine Rejects 'Concessions'
Story Code : 995674
In an interview with Belarusian TV, Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky said Russia has never refused talks to end the war that will enter its fourth month on Tuesday.
“For our part, we are ready to continue the dialogue,” Medinsky said. “Freezing talks was entirely Ukraine's initiative, and the ball is completely in their court.”
Talks between the two warring sides have been held regularly both in person and via video link since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
Earlier, Ukraine’s lead negotiator Mykhaylo Podolyak said that talks with Moscow were "on hold" after being held regularly in the earlier stages of the conflict, without producing a breakthrough.
Russia’s offer to resume talks comes after Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on May 22 that Kiev won’t give any concessions to Russia.
"The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said. "That is our victory. Our common victory with the civilized world. After all, today [Ukraine] is defending not only itself.”
His remarks came after Polish President Andrzej Duda, in a surprise visit, urged Kiev not to give in to the demands of the Russian government.
Despite calls from US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for an immediate ceasefire, Podolyak made it clear that Ukraine would not accept any deal with Russia that involves territorial concessions to Moscow.
“Any concession to Russia is not a path to peace, but a war postponed for several years. Ukraine trades neither its sovereignty nor territories and Ukrainians living on them,” Podolyak said.
“Well, we have a better idea. The world has to agree on the transfer of multi-launch rocket systems to Ukraine and other necessary heavy weapons to unblock the Black Sea. Then we will do everything ourselves.”
Fanning the flames of war, EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell also said that “the time to push forward European defense is now.”